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Concept# Lyapunov stability

Summary

Various types of stability may be discussed for the solutions of differential equations or difference equations describing dynamical systems. The most important type is that concerning the stability of solutions near to a point of equilibrium. This may be discussed by the theory of Aleksandr Lyapunov. In simple terms, if the solutions that start out near an equilibrium point stay near forever, then is Lyapunov stable. More strongly, if is Lyapunov stable and all solutions that start out near converge to , then is said to be asymptotically stable (see asymptotic analysis). The notion of exponential stability guarantees a minimal rate of decay, i.e., an estimate of how quickly the solutions converge. The idea of Lyapunov stability can be extended to infinite-dimensional manifolds, where it is known as structural stability, which concerns the behavior of different but "nearby" solutions to differential equations. Input-to-state stability (ISS) applies Lyapunov notions to systems with inputs.
Lyapunov stability is named after Aleksandr Mikhailovich Lyapunov, a Russian mathematician who defended the thesis The General Problem of Stability of Motion at Kharkov University in 1892. A. M. Lyapunov was a pioneer in successful endeavors to develop a global approach to the analysis of the stability of nonlinear dynamical systems by comparison with the widely spread local method of linearizing them about points of equilibrium. His work, initially published in Russian and then translated to French, received little attention for many years. The mathematical theory of stability of motion, founded by A. M. Lyapunov, considerably anticipated the time for its implementation in science and technology. Moreover Lyapunov did not himself make application in this field, his own interest being in the stability of rotating fluid masses with astronomical application. He did not have doctoral students who followed the research in the field of stability and his own destiny was terribly tragic because of his suicide in 1918 .

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